By JENN BEARY
Domestic violence is a touchy subject that often generates many interesting questions.
Many people may wonder why husbands abuse their wives, or why wives stay with their abusive spouses. Others may wonder what people can do to prevent abuse from happening to them, and even where to go for help if they have been abused.
These are just a few of the questions that will be answered over the next few days.
Here are some common myths and the actual realities of battering provided by The Center for Women and Children in Crisis:
MYTH: The battered women syndrome affects only a small percentage of the population.
REALITY: Accurate statistics are not available on the number of abused women that exist. This phenomenon, like rape, is a highly under-reported crime. Estimates state that from 20 to 50 percent of all wives are abused. Nearly two million women per year.
MYTH: Wives batter husbands too.
REALITY: Figures available indicate that for every battered husband there are ten battered wives. The difference lies in the extent of the violence; women receive far greater physical injury than men.
MYTH: Battering is restricted to poorly educated families from lower socio-economic classes.
REALITY: Battering is found in all socio-economic classes. An unusually high incidence is found among police, doctors (M.D.’s) and men in helping professions. Different kinds of battering may typify some minority groups, but there is little difference in extent.
MYTH: Husbands and wives have always fought. It’s natural and, therefore, can’t be that bad.
REALITY: Naturally, there is occasional conflict in every family, but the distinguishing feature here is the severity and intensity of violence. According to the police, the home is the “nursery school of violence,” not the streets. At least 85 percent of the men in prison grew up in a violent home. To eliminate violence in society, we must first rid the violence in the home.
MYTH: A slap will never hurt anyone.
REALITY: Domestic violence is distinguished by its frequency, which can be over several years. Physical injuries range from a black eye to broken bones, burst ear drums, split lips, burns, scalds, torn scalps, broken teeth and bruised necks through attempted strangulation. Women are frequently hospitalized.
Injuries can end in death. Over one-third of the murders in America take place between family members. Constant exposure to beating is also damaging mentally, in terms of that individuals self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence.
Kim Rime, a social worker in charge of Women’s Treatment Services for Domestic Violence at the Center for Women and Children in Crisis, said many factors determine the likelyhood of domestic violence and the causes of abuse.
“A lot has to do with family background, their history, and if they come from families that have been abusive. Substance abuse also plays a big part of it. Economic and health factors, stress, housing, and mental status also play a part,” Rime said.